tv Inside Politics CNN November 28, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
"inside politics" with ni nia malika henderson starts now. welcome to a special thanksgiving edition of "inside politics." i'm nia henderson in for john king. two key features in the impeachment inquiry including the president's lawyer facing new credibility questions. a new military leader is calling out the commander in chief. and we hope you can take a moment away from politics to be thankful on this holiday and enjoy the clowns, even though they're scary. people dressed up like butter. that's what people do on thanksgiving apparently. and giant balloons. >> if you eat turkey today you don't have to go to school tomorrow.
[ cheers ] >> hi, snoopy! >> we begin the hour with new scrutiny for two key players in the impeachment probe. one is the president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani. new reporting shows overlap between giuliani's business and his pursuit of biden dirt in ukraine. the other is gordon sondland who said the president directed a pressure directive against ukraine. sondland called the president and the president said he wanted nothing from president zelensky. the call is a key part of the impeachment defense. in testimony, sondland said his re recollection was clear. >> i still cannot find a record of the call because the state department and the white house cannot locate it. i'm pretty sure i had the call that day. >> whether it was the 9th or the 8th, you had this call and it
was extremely memorable, right? >> it was. >> the call with president trump on september 8 or 9, you recall it vividly? >> i recall it vividly. it was keyed by the sort of frantic e-mails from ambassador taylor. i made the call and asked the open-ended question, what do you want from ukraine? that's when i got the answer. >> but new reporting from "the washington post" highlights discrepancy in sondland's account and timeline raising questions about whether the call happened when sondland said it did, and as he described it. here with me to share reporting and insights we have the "the washington post's" josh jesse, melanie zanona. happy thanksgiving. i'm grateful that you guys are taking time out to be with us here today. josh, i'll start with you on the call. it's part of your reporting, the
story in "the washington post" digging into the call sondland said happened on september 9. some things aren't checking out in terms of records of the call and the timeline of when he said it happened, also off. >> the record of the call can't be procured. the president uses various cell phones and various ways to connect with others that don't always go through the white house situation room. it's possible it did happen. there is no written record of it. for the call to happen the way he said it happened, it would have been before dawn at 4:00, 5:00 in the morning. we know the president gets up early. >> he does. he tweets early. >> this is earlier than he's known to wake up. the fact there is no record of this and the fact that sondland's memory as you saw him hedge in the clip raises questions about if it happened when and how they say it did. >> the president latching onto the call. some of the republican folks asking him questions wondered
why he didn't put it in the opening testimony. you saw the president there basically write out the transcript of his call and read it on the white house lawn. there was another call and i want to play this here. this is what bill taylor said of a call that happened before the september 9 call. >> september 7, i had a conversation with mr. morrison. he described a phone conversation earlier that day between ambassador sondland and president trump. according to mr. morrison, president trump told ambassador sondland he was not asking for a quid pro quo. president trump did insist that president zelensky go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of biden and 2016 election interference and that president zelensky should want to do this himself. >> this call, of course, not as favorable to the president and much different from the one sondland describes. >> we have seen sondland change his testimony multiple times
over the past few weeks. it shows he has issues with his memory, deciding whether or not he needs to update the testimony. he's changed it multiple times. there are questions about if the september 7 call is the one he remembers about the president saying i don't want quid pro quo but i want essentially a quid pro quo which is zelensky should announce the investigation into biden. so they have said that was hearsay, various state department officials and diplomats saying they heard secondhand about the call. not necessarily focused on the call as much because it's not as favorable to the president. if it turns out this is a call sondland remembers where the president says no quid pro quo and i want the investigations to be announced it makes it harder for republicans to say to the president he didn't want anything untoward from the ukraines. >> we know he was directly heard on the call. it was transcribed at least in part where he says i want you to
do me a favor though, and lists the things he wants. also, what do you think about sondland's credibility? he says he's not a notetaker. he said maybe his memory isn't the best and needed to be refreshed. >> everyone remembering different pieces of it in different ways, coming back and with sondland editing or adding bits and pieces to the testimony that makes it hard to unpack the order of events. sondland himself candidly says he doesn't have notes. he's not a notetaker guy. he said that openly. and didn't have access to e-mails and records that might help him recreate some of the memories. he essentially is acknowledging this as he comes before congress. >> i talk to world leaders all the time, this is what i do, according to sondland. i may not remember the details of the calls. >> because there are so many calls. >> you watch him and it's hard
to latch onto what he saes's sa. you saw at the end sean maloney said we have tried to get you to testify truthfully three times now. he wasn't amused by it. it's not necessarily the most credible testimony for either side. >> right. you can see them wanting to grab on to parts that are favorable. moving on to rudy giuliani, the other person getting scrutiny. obviously got scrutiny in some of the hearings. new reports out from "the washington post" for instance, about business dealings. this is what the report says. president trump's personal attorney rudy giuliani negotiated this year to represent ukraine's top prosecutor for at least $200,000 during the same months that giuliani was working with the prosecutor to dig up dirt on former vice president joe biden according to people familiar with the discussions. we know that lots of republicans are like, throw rudy giuliani under a bus and throw him under another bus. >> oh, yeah.
>> that's what they want to do. what is the new reporting mean for the president's relationship with giuliani? we saw before he hasn't necessarily wanted to distance himself. >> republicans wanted to throw him under the bus since he boarded the bus, that's true. this gives more ammo to put distance between the president and rudy giuliani. now they can say he was in ukraine for personal reasons, his own financial interests, not doing the president's bidding for ukraine. that's a tough argument to make given that we know rudy giuliani was the point man on ukraine, given that the president himself said go through rudy. he knows what's going on. republicans are eager to take the heat off the president. >> i'll read rudy giuliani's denial. this is what he said. i thought that would be too complicated. i never received a penny. as you said, continuing scrutiny on rudy giuliani. this came up in the hearing as well. >> you know, granted mr.
giuliani had business interests in ukraine, correct? >> now i understand he did. i didn't know it at the time. >> with parnas and fruman. >> new names i have learned. >> you had never met with those folks? >> hard for this president to separate himself from rudy giuliani. even though we have seen him do it before. you think about michael cohen. who's michael cohen? essentially the president has said, you mentioned the call, hard for him to do this. there was a call i think he gave recently where he was like rudy giuliani has lots of clients. the president said he wasn't rudy giuliani's only client and he might be going to ukraine for all sorts of things. what do you think the president's move on this is, josh? >> the problem for the president is that rudy giuliani has briefed him repeatedly on work in ukraine. the president knew what rudy giuliani was doing in ukraine. in fact, rudy giuliani said to me this summer i told the president what i'm up to. he stays apprised of what i'm
doing. the president is friends with rudy giuliani. >> they have known each other for years. >> he's considered himself a peer for years. you can distance yourself from his ukrainian work, maybe venezuela, a whole litany of countries, but at the end of the day he's been to the white house a considerable amount. he talks to the president all the time. he was a main defender during the mueller probe, an attack dog on television. it's hard for the president to say, who's rudy giuliani? i don't think he can. >> the other thing is rudy giuliani has been loyal to the president so far. >> right. >> one thing we saw with michael cohen was the president did distance himself. it happened over a period of time. also at some point cohen said, i have to look out for my family, protect myself. that was significant. thus far we haven't seen a lot of daylight between the two. >> we'll have to watch this. also today, disturbing accusations against ambassador
sondland. three women say on the record sondland engages in sexual misconduct and professionally punished the women when they rejected his unwanted advances. family, friends and colleagues all recall being told about the incidents a tt time. sondland's personal spokesman responded to the accusations last night. >> it's a sad climate in america when these kinds of underhanded stories are trying to affect political outcome. most people will be able to see through it. it is underhanded and garbage. >> we'll be right back. thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer, which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor is for postmenopausal women or for men with hr+/her2- metastatic breast cancer, as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole significantly delayed
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and condo insurance can be. i love her! president trump is in florida spending the holiday with his family at mar-a-lago. he's facing public criticism from his recently ousted navy secretary. we have jeremy diamond joining us live from west palm beach. talk about the dynamic that the president on this thanksgiving about to talk to troops, what's the dynamic that he's facing with the military right now? >> reporter: pentagon officials have long expressed concern about the president's impulsive decisions, most recently with the syria withdrawl. they have concerns about the recent actions to intervene in the cases of three service members accused of war crimes.
those concerns are leading to plummeti ining morale at the pentagon according to barbara starr. those concerns were elucidated by richard spencer, the ousted navy secretary. this is what he wrote as it relates to president trump's decision to intervene in the case of eddie gallagher. this was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review. it was also a reminder that the president has little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices. that's fairly scathing criticism from the recently ousted navy secretary. again, the important part is that it brings to light many of the concerns we are hearing privately from senior defense officials, senior military officials. the president has the call later today with military personnel. last year we know he chose to go in a military direction with the call speaking with the general
in afghanistan. the president compared the fight against terrorists to combatting illegal immigration in the united states. that's a concern. the president po lit siliticizi military. we may see more later today. >> thanks for the report. happy thanksgiving to you in florida. we'll bring into the room here -- a scathing op-ed there as jeremy talked about. one thing that came to light is the president intervened early and multiple times on this case. why is he doing this? >> the president has seen gallagher on fox news a number of times. he has high profile defenders. the president has been inclined to intervene in the cases for months. he tried to do it earlier this year to fierce backlash.
you have mark esper, chairman of joint chiefs and tried to say to the president don't do this, let the process play out. showed him pictures of a crime, more than an hour of details. they thought he was getting bad info from others. the president said, i'll think about it, and then he did it. the most remarkable part was after he did it, the navy tried not to implement at first what the president wanted. then the president tweeted again to say, you will do what i want. it was a remarkable rebuke of the military and the president, vice versa. they were playing chicken. >> now the president making this a part of his stump speech. who knows if it will be a permanent part. it was down in florida. >> i stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state. so many people said, sir, i don't think you should do that. i will always stick up for our
great fighters. people can sit there in air conditioned offices and complain, but you know what? doesn't matter to me whatsoever. >> catherine, you see the president extending the language of the deep state to the military, particularly military leaders, some of whom he put in these positions. >> this is an extension of a broader point he makes that washington is working against him and he's fighting for real people, real americans, fighting for warriors. >> folks on the ground. >> the machine of washington is stacked against him. you'll hear more of this theme with this and other cases. we have seen him again and again use a really expansive view of executive powers with military, doj and agencies. when he wants his way he's bold about going through whatever the advice is. >> he's run up against military leadership on a number of issues. think about the withdrawal from
syria, afghanistan troop levels, the ban on transgender service members which i believe he announced via tweet. participation in nato, ending war games with south korea. pardons for alleged war crimes which we are talking about now. >> the president said i know more than the generals. we have seen it with the long list of situations where he basically contradicts his own experts, his own military leaders and says i'm the military commander in chief. without following the briefing he gets from leaders saying i'm going with my gut on everything from whether we should pull troops from syria to whether we should keep troops in afghanistan. josh and i were at mar-a-lago when the president had phone calls with the military leaders. he spent time saying, i know what we should be doing when it comes to buying ships for the military. you can expect that again where the president will be politic e politicizing the phone call. >> the president was on the phone with the military leaders
saying, you know, trade is important to me. we have a lot of problems with trade and the military leader at the other end said we don't see issues with trade here and he would move on. it was remarkable. >> this will be later today. we have reporting from barbara starr about what it means for the actual military and division. the military is divided, one official said. there are two camps. ardent trump supporters thabl the president is watching out for the troops. the other half, many are high ranking, believe the military must be independent of political influence and they don't see the president adhering to that. >> sounds like tensions have been bubbling up and things are coming to a head, especially with the syria decision and pulling the troops, abandoning our kurdish allies. what's striking to me is the disconnect between trump's love of the military and understanding of the military. this is a president who ran on supporting the troops, the military, the veterans. at the same time he makes
decisions that goes against his own national security advisers, the generals. it just doesn't seem to be like he's actually connecting with what the military wants and what their guiding ethical principles are. >> there is a dynamic where he likes the generals. he talks about my generals. he had generals in jobs that don't normally go to former military folks like john kelly. when he wants to go against the generals as well -- >> he likes them as a pro. he likes to see them dressed up. >> or the dog. >> trying to figure that out. the president likes the trapping -- >> let's not re-open the dog. >> as we go to break, republican senators posting this video to express their appreciation for members of the u.s. military on thanksgiving. >> most grateful for our men and women in uniform who keep us safe and free. >> on behalf of my family, we
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of travellers dealing with downpours, high winds and snow. more than 20 million people are under a watch, warning or advisory. some areas are dealing with widespread power outages. chad, the storms which have caused power outages and delayed some travel for people, they could move into the weekend. >> absolutely. we have been standing here for two weeks with nothing on the weather map. you put a holiday in the way. we have one storm on one side of the country. another coming from the west. the storm that made the delays yesterday, 5,000 airport delays yesterday. only 130 were cancelled but 5,000 planes delayed yesterday. the storm is moving away. a small storm through the middle of the country. we are watching now, snow in palm dale. what are the odds that the kids in palmdale, california, have a chance to get one snow day a
decade and they are already off because it's thanksgiving. it's raining hard in oceanside. the entire area in under a deluge. orange county under a flash flood warning for a couple of hours. by the time you get above 2,000 feet it's all snow. where does it go? right in the way of the northeast for sunday. when you are trying to get back home. not bad today. here is the snow through most of salt lake city and most of nevada, reno, big ski areas around the sierra picking up great snow. probably can't get there. grapevine is closed. here comes the rain for the eastern part of the united states. the snow in the dakotas. now we are moving ahead to sunday. here's the problem. if you want to get rid of your guests, you should do it on saturday. by sunday, they'll be stuck here until monday. don't let that happen. say, i heard the weather, you have to go today. don't stick around until sunday or you'll be here until monday.
we all don't want that. >> that's right. thank you very much for that report and advice. happy thanksgiving. >> to you, too. >> try as they might, the high winds couldn't stop the iconic balloons from flying high in this morning's macy's thanksgiving day parade. i'm happy about this. you've got all of them there. astronaut snoopy was cleared for takeoff. snoopy is one of at least three new balloons this year including spongebob there. everybody loves spongebob. he's got his pet snail gary. everybody knows gary. he's on spongebob's back there and it's spongebob's 20th birthday. more familiar faces. you have pikachu, blue. concern over high winds threatened to ground all of the awesome giant balloons. they flew high in the sky today.
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members of congress are back in their districts this thanksgiving. the drama of the impeachment hearings is following them home. it's becoming a town hall topic for some house democrats as impeachment-related ads show up targeting vulnerable members in swing districts. on the senate side republicans up for re-election are strategizing with how to answer the impeachment question. we have cnn's phil mattingly joining us now. i think there are 23 republicans who are up. about 12 democrats up. who are the republican senators we should be paying attention to as we think about these impeachment hears? >> like any tough vote coming in the senate, there is an obvious short list to pay attention to. people like senator susan collins, cory gardner in california. i'm not looking at them because i think they are necessarily going to vote to remove the
president of the united states. why i'm looking at them is for another reason. we haven't fully gotten into what a senate trial entails. we don't know a lot of information. there aren't a lot of rigid rules as to how it will take place. this is why the senators matter more than just how they vote in the end. there will be a need for a coalition, likely a bipartisan coalition of senators to come together, meet and figure out a structure that gives legitimacy to the process and allows the president and democrats and everybody else in a polarized, split country on the issue to feel like some republicans feel. this is a trial that holds up the institution of the united states senate. at the end of it people feel like everybody got a fair shake. that's a long way off. it's a tough sell. pay attention to people like susan collins and cory gardner.
not to vote out the president but to figure out to have a senate trial that's structured and both sides feel is fair. pay attention to mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer. they'll meet to lay out the top line structure. the details of who the witnesses are, how votes take place, how long the trial is. that will take rank and file members in the middle to come together. that's why the senators are important now. that will play out in the weeks ahead. how the senate trial works is perhaps more important than that at least for the moment. >> we have a president eyeing some of the senators as well. thanks for the report. happy thanksgiving to you. thanks for being with us. melanie, i'm going to put on here abigail spanburger. here's her strategy in terms of talking to the folks in her district. >> i figured when i went out to go hang out with the democrats the week after last week the
topic would be the president. but i'm looking at your schedule. doesn't seem to be the topic. why is that? >> it's health care. that's the top issue for people within my district. >> if you think about the way in which they ran and won in 2018, it was on the bread and butter issues like health care, like student loan debt, like drug prices. that's apparently what her strategy is going forward as well. >> republicans are trying to turn the table on democrats. in 2020, they are saying they are obsessed with impeachment doing this at the expense of things like prescription drug prices and a trade deal with the president. we are seeing a split between how democrats with dealing with this. some like spanburger who is trying to build a brand. but tom malinowski of new jersey embracing it. democrats will be saddled with impeachment no matter what. they might as well run toward it
instead of away. and the conversations that democrats are having with constituents can shape what the debates will look like. they are trying to determine whether they should keep it narrow, hold out for mueller. if they come back and say they are only comfortable with xyz, the leadership will follow. >> another front line democrat and certainly nancy pelosi is paying attention. here's what happened in one of her town halls. >> it appears that for the last couple of years all that's going on is investigations. it is keeping us away from the work in our country. [ applause ] >> i didn't run for office to impeach the president. i ran on taxes and health care and infrastructure. the president crossed a line for me when it seemed as if he had withheld critical military fund ing for our security partner because he wanted them to
investigate his opponent in an election. >> that was mikey cheryl. you see her there saying it was a matter of national security. you hear a lot of democrats saying they didn't have a choice in terms of the impeachment process. >> you definitely have the democrats, especially those in your more moderate districts, freshmen who flipped from districts who were republican in 2018, who have been cautious about going toward impeachment. a lot of them said you're okay with an impeachment inquiry. you have to answer the questions. these are people who -- the trump campaign are watching closely. they see opportunities to cast the members as you are not in touch with what people want. not working on issues like health care. obsessed with endless investigations. that's a real issue for folks. they want to show they are
working on other issues. >> you talk about the language. the republican talking points. democrats too focused on impeachment. exact language in the ad. >> what have the democrats done? they are wasting millions on a partisan witch hunt to reverse the 2016 election. they know they can't compete, so they try to impeach. tell ben mcadams to stop impeachment now. >> instead of working to secure the border, fix health care and pass a trade deal that creates jobs she support d the impeachment investigation. >> you have the mueller report comes out that shows different obstructive episodes, damaging report. mueller testifies and the next day the president has a call with the president of ukraine. he makes demands and calls for investigations. in some ways criticizing the president publicly has not stopped what they see as his
behavior. would censoring stop him? what else are we left to do? he continues to do these things. >> quickly here i want to get to voter voices. you don't often hear from them. here's what voters had to say. >> i think it's going to boil down to if you think what he did -- how bad was it? it's not in question what happened. so it doesn't really matter how many times or how many witnesses. they come and say the same thing. >> the opportunity to get the president out is in 11 months the right way versus spending two years chewing this old bone. they had their chance with the mueller investigation. >> michigan voters are a key state for the president. >> that's why you see democrats don't want to spend months on this. they want to have the vote, have the trial, have it out of the way so voter who is say we have
an election coming up will be able to have their say. that's why democrats will want it wrapped up quickly. >> they'll be in the district for a couple more days. as we go to break, a congressional flashback. a year ago today congresswoman nancy pelosi was nominated by her caucus to return as speaker of the house. she expressed optimism about her working relationship with the president. >> it was so inspiring to hear my colleagues place my name in nomination, once again for speaker of the house. we are a coequal branch of government. my power there springs from the vote of the members of the house of representatives. i think the president will be respectful of that. but right now, is not the time to talk about it.
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topping our political radar, claims that the fbi spied on the trump campaign being knocked down today, according to the "the new york times" the justice department's inspector-general found no evidence that the fbi tried to put undercover agents inside the campaign. however, sources familiar with the draft of the yet to be released ig report also tell the times that the ig concluded the fbi was careless and unprofessional in pursuing a
wiretap on former trump campaign adviser carter page. north korea is at it again, launching two short-range projectiles today. a south korean military official says they were fired over the east sea from a super large caliber multiple rocket launcher. the north has a historyests on . holidays. protesters in hong kong are waving american flags and cheering president trump after he signed a bill passed almost unanimously by congress backing the pro democracy movement. china is accusing the u.s. of publicly supporting violent criminals and has summoned the u.s. ambassador to beijing to protest the move. we have will ripley who was in hong kong for us. will, this is good news for the hong kong protesters. you see them cheering the move, but it complicates a u.s.-china trade policy. >> it absolutely does. i think president trump's le ruck texans to sign the bill
into law, the fact that he waited a week and immediately after signing it issued the statement reinforcing his respect for the chinese president xi jinping. he's concerned they have a personal relationship. can it survive an issue as sensitive as this one is for china? china takes nothing more seriously than a place like hong kong, a territory with people talking about independence. that's absolute blasphemy for leaders in beijing. same with taiwan. they have insisted they can take back taiwan, that it's a renegade product. when the u.s. does anything perceived as friendly to taiwan there are consequences. we don't know the consequences of this bill which authorizes sanctions on officials believed to be involved in human rights abuses. the bigger issue for hong kong would be the annual review of the special status hong kong enjoys that allows the city to be prosperous.
it would be devastating if that was taken away. what it showed is the division inside the city. the split screen moment of thousands of citizens celebrating the united states signing the bill into law while at the same time their government was strongly condemning the action and using words like bullying, evil. this is the division in hong kong that's a problem, that sows seeds of unrest. i'm not sure if bill solves that. it could complicate the situation. >> thank you very much for that report. happy thanksgiving to you. we'll bring it inside the room here. catherine, a, where are u.s. trade talks and, b, the president clearly has been all over the map on this. he said he supported the hong kong protesters in china at one point. >> yeah. so trade talks, both sides. sometime back indicated they were moving toward a phase one deal on u.s.-china trade that wouldn't deal with the concerns which is to start you on the
path. those talks appear to have slowed. you haven't seen progress recently. the president was touring an apple facility. he was asked about it and said he wanted to see more from china. those don't appear to be coming to a head immediately. where things stand now after the signing, it doesn't appear it shuts the talks down. the president made conciliatory statements about xi and the chinese have taken hope from that. they are also asking he not fully implement this. we have to see how it continues to pan out. >> he suggested he wouldn't fully implement it as well. up next, how the 2020 candidates are spending thanksgiving. in one week... a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's derm-proven retinol works so fast, it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. making wrinkles look so last week.
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he borrowed billions donald trump failed as a businessman. and left a trail of bankruptcy and broken promises. he hasn't changed. i started a tiny investment business, and over 27 years, grew it successfully to 36 billion dollars. i'm tom steyer and i approve this message. i'm running for president because unlike other candidates,
even though it's a holiday, the candidates are taking a break for thanksgiving. amy klobuchar and kamala harris went to the turkey trot handing out things to runners. >> happy thanksgiving! >> and amy klobuchar is also in des moines working on a service project this hour. she took a moment to post this throwback thursday photo of herself as a kid at the
thanksgiving table tweeting, as you can see, i'm always thankful for a good turkey and a bang trim. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." anna cabrera starts right now. >> happy thanksgiving to you all on this special edition of cnn right now. as the president's former navy secretary calls his behavior shocking and unprecedented, cnn reports on growing worry inside the military about the president's decision-making. the fbi planted spies among us. it's a conspiracy that's been retweeted by the president, fox news and even the attorney general. now it's been debunked by the president's administration. plus, rudy giuliani's legal jeopardy is